In January of 1999, a group of educators and parents began brainstorming their vision of education. Influenced by the research into and practice of developmentally-appropriate education, as well as by their own children’s educative experiences, the group came up with what remain key Attic tenets: developmentally-appropriate education, no rewards or punishments, multiage classrooms, child-centered curriculum, and time for childhood.
The Attic’s founding members (Pat Orrell, Shelley Maurer, Tracy Ruef, Anna Boyd, and Liz Hunter) honed these ideas into The Attic’s Mission: Nurturing in children a sense of self and a passion for learning, community, and childhood.
August 23, 1999
We established our Board of Directors & Advisory Board.
September of 1999
It all started in an attic with 16 kids and research guiding practice. Many Attic traditions were celebrated that first year: the Flowing Lake picnic, a Halloween haunted house, a winter Writer’s Night celebration and spring Interest Project event, a spring play, our first Attic Yearbook, and an end-of-year picnic at Blyth Park.
January of 2001
The Attic enrolled 23 kids, outgrowing the original attic and moving to a rented space in Lake Forest Park.
Fall of 2001
We hired our first non-founder teacher.
May of 2002
The Attic received its federal non-profit status, 501(c)3.
May of 2003
We acquired the Little Bear Creek site and increased enrollment to 42 students (ages 5-14) the following fall.
May of 2004
First Annual Fundraising Auction cleared $26K and let us know that with the support of our “Friends and Families of the Attic”, the future of The Attic would be bright!
Fall of 2004
In the fall of 2004, we launched a rigorous Secondary Program (high school), with autonomy and self-knowledge as its key tenets. Teachers with passion for their subject area were attracted to The Attic’s educational philosophy.
Beloved classroom aid, Grandpa Les, poses with The Attic primary class.
May of 2007
Attic teens created their own BioTech class and participated in NW Student BioTech Expo.
October 27, 2007
The Attic hosted the first Pacific NW Homeschool College Fair.
May 27, 2008
First Attic graduation.
January of 2009
The Attic Board committed to dedicating the Annual Fund to need-based tuition assistance.
March of 2010
7th Annual Fundraising Auction grossed $121K.
May of 2010
Attic Class of 2010 – Attic graduates soar.
March 8-10, 2011
We hosted an Attic hero: Dr. Constance Kamii.
Fall of 2011
Inspired by their interests, teens created our first Model UN class.
Fall of 2011
The Attic’s Field & Forest Outdoor Preschool opened.
May of 2012
Attic Class of 2012 – Attic graduates confident to navigate their own path.
March 16, 2013
Groundbreaking at 51st Ave. property.
September 23, 2014
We hosted an Attic hero: Alfie Kohn.
Attic Founders were thrilled to co-host author and researcher, Alfie Kohn, whose research and ideas form many of the underpinnings of Attic practice.
October of 2014
We began phase 1 of North Campus construction.
October 5, 2015
Official Opening Day in our new North Campus!
February of 2017
After 18 years of leading the Attic, Founding Director, Pat Orrell decided it was time for her to step down as Executive Director. Attic teacher John Anthony Bassett was hired as The Attic’s new Executive Director.
Summer of 2017
The Catalyst Team was created to focus on reaching beyond our four walls to positively impact education.
Summer of 2018
At our annual Teaching Team retreat (and every month, when we meet together as an entire Teaching Team), we celebrate our work for kids, focus on The Attic philosophy and values, and reflect on how those values are concretely put into practice in our classrooms.
Summer of 2019
Erika Wright was hired as Interim Executive Director and tasked with leading The Attic during a period of exciting new growth.
Serving nearly 100 kids ages 5-18, and 50 preschoolers, we continue to live our mission, to nourish our vision of Attic campus expansion and outreach beyond our four-walls, and to inspire others to re-imagine education with us. In a changing world, The Attic is a source of light and inspiration, offering our learners, families, and teachers the same core values we’ve always held: a sense of self and a passion for learning, community, and childhood.